Public perception of your brand is directly connected to your sales pipeline and revenue stream. If you’ve noticed that competition has been especially stiff lately – with clients lost to competitors or a sudden dip in sales – you may want to consider a brand audit to discover ways to differentiate yourself from your rivals.
Nobody likes to hear what they’re doing wrong, and choosing to do a brand audit can be intimidating. But when it comes to your brand’s image and identity, ignoring potential problems is the worst thing you can do for your business. Let’s explore how to conduct an efficient brand audit and how to use this information to improve your marketing strategy.
What are the benefits of a brand audit?
When it comes to connecting with your customers, appearances matter, and a brand audit allows you to see your company through your customer’s eyes. Employees are so closely connected to their company that they don’t have the ability to look at the brand through an unbiased lens, which can be severely limiting.
A brand audit can help you understand your customer demographics better and create marketing strategies that will yield stronger results. It will give you the cold, hard facts regarding your business’s strengths and weaknesses and how you can work with them.
A brand audit also enables you to more accurately and succinctly communicate what your company offers to prospective customers. It allows you to address misconceptions that can permanently damage your brand image and work on building a reputation that people can connect with.
How do I conduct a brand audit?
The first step to conducting a thorough brand audit is to compile a list of topics you will focus on as part of the project. One common area of focus is your website, specifically regarding how it is used and what purpose it serves. Another area to focus on is brand differentiation, which shows the areas in which your brand stands out against its competitors.
There are many aspects to a thorough brand audit. Overall strengths and weaknesses, new trends within the industry, your ideal customer demographics, and strategies used by your competitors are all important aspects of the audit. Get ready to dive into your data to get a holistic view of these areas with the following tips.
Consider communication strategies
During a brand audit, you may find that your company has work to do to improve communication, both internally and externally. You need to be thinking not only about what message your customers are receiving from your brand, but also how your different departments understand your company message and work together to get it out there.
For internal communication, you should consider bringing your collaboration into the cloud with software that compiles data across all teams and analyzes it in a way that will maximize relevant findings to aid in your project management.
For external communication, you will need to focus on the people you are trying to reach: potential customers. A promising way to understand what target demographics you should be marketing to is to understand who already uses and loves your brand and why.
Speak to your clients
While all data is helpful in giving you an unbiased view of your brand’s performance, directly surveying your existing loyal customers can provide you with a more nuanced perspective. How do your existing customers perceive your brand, and how do they communicate this to others?
There are many great ways of encouraging existing customers to partake in a poll or survey. Offering discounts or the chance to win a prize are both great ways of encouraging people to voice honest opinions about your brand.
Keep in mind that the way in which you phrase your questions can greatly affect how they are answered. Asking yes or no questions can give you clear results but at the expense of gathering a lot of details. Also consider analyzing reviews of your company to detect common themes or language that customers use when describing your brand.
When analysing responses, keep in mind that trust is an important factor in boosting sales conversions for your brand. Research reveals that a majority of consumers say they only buy from brands they trust, underscoring the importance of a positive brand image to connect with potential customers.
What do existing customers like about your brand and what areas do they not care for? This will help you tailor your future marketing to get more people interested and increase the number of brand loyalists you acquire.
Monitor website KPIs
Businesses that have an online presence should scrutinize their company’s web traffic data to uncover important trends. Your company can have an incredible product or service, but without a properly optimized website, you won’t generate many return visitors.
One important metric to look at is the bounce rate of your website, which will tell you how many visitors immediately leave your site after initially visiting it. A high bounce rate – defined as a rate over 50% – indicates that visitors to your website are not following through to learn more about your brand and offerings. Of course, this decreases the chance that they turn into customers.
Some issues a high bounce rate could indicate are an ineffective landing page or a high amount of traffic from demographics that do not have relevance to your brand. A high bounce rate could also show that your company’s name or image is being confused with another or that backlinks to your website are not appropriately placed.
In this scenario, traffic to your website can be increasing but not resulting in a higher conversion rate. Analyzing which countries your website’s traffic are coming from will also help you identify whether you are reaching ideal target markets.
Doing a deep dive into your pageviews is another important element of a brand audit. Discovering what your website’s visitors are frequently clicking on can tell you a lot about them. You should also audit your content for search engine optimization (SEO) to uncover which content is driving the most visitors to your site and how to create more similar content going forward.
Devise an action plan
A comprehensive brand audit can be a huge undertaking, so it’s not uncommon for brands to avoid it all together or to neglect addressing their findings after it is done. It’s important that your company pays attention to the details of your audit to highlight areas of improvement and devise an action plan.
It’s crucial to create actionable targets with realistic timelines to address the concerns uncovered. Keep in mind throughout this process that every delay in addressing your brand’s issues is resulting in lost revenue and decreased brand exposure. Break down solutions into actionable steps and start plugging away at the changes that your audit shows need to be made.
While a brand audit is an important exercise for your company, it’s not a “one and done” solution. Marketers and advertisers need to keep in mind that monitoring and developing a brand is a continuous process that requires strategy and attention-to-detail.
After all, markets and people change, as does your brand’s public perception, and it’s vital to ensure that your company is always on top of that. Proactive brands that stay on top of industry trends and develop a deep understanding of their customers will always fare better than reactive brands that refuse to take the reins in the creation of their brand’s public image.